Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Epsom Salts, Magnesium Sulfate



Epsom Salts is used in equine veterinary medicine for a variety of purposes. Chemically, it is magnesium sulfate (MgSO4). The word “Epsom” is derived from the town of Epsom in Surrey, England, where the salt was collected from a bitter saline spring “that arises where the porous chalk of the North Downs meets nonporous London clay.” It is used as a dessicant (it takes up water from air) and for a variety of other industrial, cosmetic and medical uses.

In a foot soak, add a cup or more (more than will go into solution) to hot water ( just as hot as would be comfortable for a bath for you) and a little squirt (to tea color) of povidone iodine solution. The water level should be above the level of the coronet.

Epsom salts can be used as a poultice for foot abscesses and bruises by adding betadine solution to Epsom salts and packing the paste into the sole of the foot and the defect and covering with a foot bandage. I typically use sugardine instead.


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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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